Bibliography on Conceptual History
Kari Palonen, in co-operation with Anna Björk, Taru Haapala and Hanna-Mari Kivistö.
Last update 1 August 2008
In the context of renovating the websites of the History of Political and Social Concepts Group I have, with the help of my three above-mentioned doctoral students sketched, partly on the basis of the existing references on the HPSCG websites since 1998, an Online International Bibliography of Conceptual History. Sami Syrjämäki has taken care of the arrangements to build a database out of the files, and Antti Soini has completed the files with the data. Due to the different needs to use bibliography, it will be available in the database format as well as in separate pdf files.
A bibliography of conceptual history seems to be as an impossible task for several reasons. As many people have noticed, a Google search for "conceptual history" or "Begriffsgeschichte" brings simultaneously everything and nothing. Among the questions included in the task and its execution are, for example, what is "conceptual history" and what is not, or in which "concepts" we are interested. A further question would be how to classify different kinds of items within such a bibliography.
Nonetheless, it is better start somewhere and revise constantly than not start at all. The pragmatism of the HPSCG has been in not asking, whether something "is" conceptual history or not, but leaving the borders widely open; it is more fruitful to understand the subject broadly than enter into endless disputes of what ‘really’ might be included into conceptual history. Admittedly, this is a bibliography of a political theorist whereas, for example, literary historians of concepts or the philosophers around the Archiv für Begriffsgeschichte might arrive at an entirely different profile.
A refined version of such a bibliography would require extensive searches and a librarian’s professional competence. The following documentation is formed by pedestrian methods of someone long engaged in the field. The queries among the HPSCG and Contributions board members and a look to their websites as well as the look into my own library allowed us to make an initial draft, which then may be regularly updated.
How to classify the texts has been one of the problems. To classify them on a thematic basis turned out to be too complicated, which led to the next alternative. The idea was to use textual genres as a criterion of classification, which in the end proved to be an easier way for doing this. Here we can rather simply arrive to the following “grouping”:
1) lexical works
3) collections of articles
5) bibliographies of individual scholars
a) references to websites
b) separate bibliographies (Koselleck, Richter)
6) e-texts and links (complied by Martin Burke)
A certain overlap is included here, and nobody should attempt any experiments of quantifying the frequencies and distributions of the items.
To recognise the international character of conceptual history also means that the bibliography should remain multilingual. So far, the titles have not been translated and translations of the items included have not been separately mentioned.
The separate points deserve a few introductory comments.
1) LEXICAL WORKS
In conceptual history, major lexical works on thematic subject and on different linguistic areas have so far played a key role. The most important innovation of the conceptual lexica has been to turn into an advantage the idea, that politically relevant concepts have histories of their own and that they today remain more contested than ever. Therefore, they do not offer the readers the ‘last word of scholarship’ but rather dissolve this very idea by illustrating the thoroughly historical and controversial character of the concepts presented.
For this bibliography, it is not enough just the mention the lexica themselves, but also mention the titles and the authors of the articles. Only then we can know in detail, what can be expected of them, how the articles have been organised and of which concepts articles are available in each of the lexica.
The present version of the lexical works contains the following ones:
Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe. Historisches Lexikon zur politisch-sozialen Sprache in Deutschland (7 Bde + 2 Registerbände. 1972-1997);
Handbuch politisch-sozialer Grundbegriff in Frankreich 1680-1820 (Hefte 1-20, 1985- );
Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie (12 Bde + Registerband 1971-2007): here only a selection of articles by Anna Björk is included;
Diccionario político y social del siglo XIX español ( 1vol. 2002)
Käsitteet liikkeessä. Suomen poliittisen kulttuurin käsitehistoria (1 vol., 2003).
Gerhard Göhler & Mattias Iser & Ina Kerner (Hg.)Politische Theorie. 22 umkämpfte Begriffe zur Einführung.Wiesbaden: VS-Verlag 2004
Terence Ball & James Farr & Russell L. Hanson, Political Innovation and Conceptual Change. Cambridge: Cambridge UP 1989
Major works still missing are:
– the five volumes in the series Nederlandse Begripsgeschiedenis (the titles are mentioned on the website http://www.aup.nl/do.php?a=show_visitor_booklist&b=series&series=18)
– Historisches Wörterbuch der Rhetorik, 7 volumes out of 10 published 1992-, see http://www.uni-tuebingen.de/hwrh/
– Dictionnaire des usages socio-politiques (1770-1815), 8 volumes 1985-2006
Collection " Linguistique française ", Paris, Champion. (no separate website)
2) JOURNALS AROUND CONCEPTUAL HISTORY
This file contains the tables of contents of the following three journals, all of themhaving conceptual history as an essential part of their profile, based on the existing websites
Archiv für Begriffsgeschichte, from 1995 onwardshttp://www.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/philosophy/series/archiv.htm
Redescriptions. Yearbook of Political Thought and Conceptual History (formerly Finnish Yearbook of Political Thought), from 1997 http://www.jyu.fi/yhtfil/redescriptions/
Contributions to the History of Concepts, from 2005-http://www.jyu.fi/yhtfil/redescriptions/ http://www.brill.nl/chco
3) MONOGRAPHS ON CONCEPTUAL HISTORY
Besides the question, what counts as conceptual history, we should also ask, when does conceptual history start? One of the differences between history of ideas and history of concepts could be formulated in terms of their opposite orientations to the origins. The history of ideas has a tendency to track everything farther and farther back in history, whereas the history of concepts insists of the role of breaks and regards similarity and continuity with suspicion. Accordingly, the present volume does not include the “precursors” of conceptual history but concentrates mainly on works written in the recent decades, more or less consciously as pieces on conceptual history. The first monographs here date from the1950s – maybe still far too early for some and too late for others.
4) COLLECTIONS OF ARTICLES
Nowadays the articles in academic journals are fairly easily available in electronic forms for the scholars at the universities. As opposed to this, articles included in collections and anthologies are much more difficult to reach. For this reason it is valuable not just to mention the titles of the volumes but also the single articles included in them are also worth mentioning. The collections included here are not limited to those in major publishing companies, but much of the conceptual history publications are published in specialised publications with small amount of copies available. This does not make them less valuable for scholars in conceptual history, and the websites from which they can be requested are mentioned as far as possible.
In the Database version of the bibliography the collections of articles are mentioned separated, articles included in them are then included to the “Articles in books”
5) BIBLIOGRAPHIES OF INDIVIDUAL SCHOLARS
Here the bibliography relies on the existing website of some main scholars around conceptual history. These sites are picked up from the existing websites, without any attempt to systematise either the form or the degree of completeness of the sites. So unsystematic as such sites complement, they complement the bibliography with an individual profile that in most cases reaches beyond the history of concepts.
Temporary websites of two outstanding scholars, the late Reinhart Koselleck and Melvin Richter, professor emeritus at the CUNY, New York, have been included on the HPSCG site.
6) A number of both electronic texts and links to sites of conceptual history have been compiled by Associate Professor Martin J. Burke (The City University of New York) mainly for the purpose of the Introduction to Conceptual History courses at the Helsinki Summer School, held annually since 2005 and now included on the Concepta website http://www.concepta-net.org/links
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